Conservative James Buckley dies at 100

By 
 August 19, 2023

James Buckley, the former Republican U.S. senator from New York, has passed away at the age of 100. 

Politico reports, "Buckley died [on Friday, Aug. 18, 2023] at a hospital in Washington, D.C., according to his son David Buckley of Arlington, Va."

James Buckley was the older brother of conservative William F. Buckley Jr., the well-known National Review founder and Firing Line host. William F. Buckley Jr. died back in February of 2008.

William and James were two of the 10 Buckley children. And, James was the last surviving sibling.

Who was James Buckley?

Although many Republicans, these days, are likely more familiar with the accomplishments of William - particularly within the conservative movement - James Buckley had numerous and significant accomplishments of his own.

Fox News reports, "[James] Buckley . . . is one of the few people to have served in the executive, legislative, and judicial branches of the Federal government."

After serving in the Navy during World War II, Buckley went on to attend and graduate from Yale Law School, subsequently becoming a corporate lawyer. But, it was not until the mid-1960s that Buckley got involved in politics.

Buckley's first stint in politics came in 1965 when he managed the mayoral campaign of William. Then, in 1970, Buckley launched his own campaign for U.S. senator.

Politico reports:

Buckley was the sole Conservative Party candidate to win statewide office in New York, elected to the U.S. Senate in 1970 in a three-way race with 39 percent of the vote. Republican Sen. Charles Goodell, who was appointed to the job in 1968 after the assassination of Sen. Robert F. Kennedy, and Democratic Rep. Richard Ottinger split the moderate vote, allowing Buckley to capture the seat.

Buckley's legacy

Buckley would represent New York in the U.S. Senate for one term, losing to Democrat Daniel Patrick Moynihan in 1976. But, Buckley's six years were far from uneventful.

Buckley is particularly well known for his challenge of campaign finance laws in the Supreme Court case Buckley v. Valeo. But, he is also known for famously calling upon then-President Richard Nixon to resign in the wake of the Watergate scandal.

After his time as a U.S. senator, Buckley would go on to serve in the administration of President Ronald Reagan. Subsequently, Reagan made Buckley a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia.

There is no doubt that James Buckley was a major conservative figure in American politics.

On Buckley's 100th birthday, U.S. Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT), in a speech on the Senate floor, said:

My own interactions with James Buckley have helped me understand why he remains a hero to this day, not just in the Senate but really throughout the United States. I invited him to address the Senate Republican Conference in our steering lunch just a few years ago, in which he provided observations that were timely, relevant, compelling, and delivered with incredible enthusiasm

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